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Questions to Ask When Buying a Home in Paradise

by | Sep 27, 2022 | Activities, Real Estate

Ocean view real estate with REMAX

Purchasing Bonaire real estate.

Bonaire’s visitors have been known to return yearly and sometimes multiple times a year!  When people fall in love with Bonaire, they usually dream of one day taking the plunge and buying their own piece of paradise on Bonaire. For some people, this happens over time, but for others, it happens instantly. It’s like love at first sight. Once you decide to purchase real estate on Bonaire, many questions will arise.

I recently had the opportunity to ask Jean Scearce the most essential questions to ask when buying a home on Bonaire. Jean is a local RE/MAX real estate agent and knows the ins and outs of buying and selling Bonaire real estate. She will be able to assist you with all aspects of becoming a Bonaire homeowner.

Jean’s top ten questions to ask before taking the plunge.

1. Do you need a mortgage?

What is possible in one country may not be possible in another country. On Bonaire, not all properties are eligible for a local mortgage. If you require a mortgage, it is best to discuss it with your real estate agent initially. Of course, cash offers are always welcome when purchasing Bonaire real estate.

2. Do you understand the terms freehold and long-lease land?

On Bonaire, there are two types of land upon which properties are built that could influence your decision. The first type is freehold land, and the other type is long-lease land. You may buy a home that is built on either type of land. The decision is yours, but this factor could limit the selection available for purchase. Discuss the pros and cons of each type of land with your Bonaire real estate agent early on for a detailed explanation.

3. How often and how long are you planning to stay on Bonaire?

If you are not planning to relocate to Bonaire full-time, you should consider how long you would like to stay on the island per year. Some properties only permit homeowners to use their purchased property for a limited time each year.  Additionally, immigration requirements may limit how long you can stay if you are not an official resident.

4. Have you included the cost of transfer tax and closing costs in your budget?

Most people who have purchased a home know there are always additional costs. On Bonaire, the cost of transfer tax and closing costs are an additional 7% to 8% of the price of the property. Keep this in mind when talking to your real estate agent.

5. Do you plan on renting your home when you are not using it?

If you are not planning to move to Bonaire full-time, you may choose to rent your home while you are off-island. While this can help cover costs, there are always things to consider. You will want to understand any restrictions, the costs of property management, and whether the location will be desirable to renters.

6. Do you have pets you will bring to the island?

If you have a beloved pet, you should remember to consider them in your home-buying decision. On Bonaire, unfortunately, some residential properties do not allow pets. There are also properties that have weight and breed guidelines. Don’t forget to keep your pets in mind while searching for your dream home.

7. Is your next trip primarily a home-buying or vacation trip?

Viewing property for sale on Bonaire can take some time to schedule. Often, there may be renters staying at the properties. Being flexible during your vacation is crucial as it takes a little creative scheduling to view the properties. For instance, if you are on the island for one week to view properties while also having a dive vacation, you should consider an additional one to two weeks on Bonaire. This will give you the freedom to complete everything you want to achieve while enjoying Bonaire.

8. Are you prepared to make an offer if you see the right property?

The housing market moves quite quickly on Bonaire. To avoid disappointment, make sure you are prepared to make an offer when you find your dream home.

9. Do you understand the offer process and your legal obligation?

When you have finally found your island dream home, remember that Bonaire is under Dutch law. An offer is considered binding under Dutch law even before a deposit is made.

10. Have you selected and talked with a Bonaire real estate professional before your trip?

When planning your vacation on Bonaire, schedule an appointment with a real estate agent before your arrival on the island. Real estate agents on Bonaire are often busy and might be out of the office showing properties during the week.

Jean Scearce holds your keys to paradise.

Jean is a US citizen living permanently on Bonaire and works at RE/MAX Paradise Homes. She has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in purchasing their dream homes on Bonaire and has sold many of their listings in under 30 days. She focuses on your needs while being well versed in all Bonaire real estate rules under Dutch law.


(Source:  Jean Scearce – RE/MAX Paradise Homes)

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Tanya Deen has been living in Bonaire since December 2016. She is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Instructor and enjoys underwater and bird photography. Tanya is the Editor-in-Chief of the Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.
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